Sydney Smith (composer)

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Sydney Smith (also known under the pseudonyms Paul Beaumont and Victor Delacour, July 14, 1839 – March 3, 1889), was a leading English pianist and composer in Victorian England. Sydney Smith grew up in a family of musicians. His father was the head of a music school and often gave concerts with his two sons Sydney and Boyton.

Smith was born in Dorchester, Dorset. He studied piano in Leipzig with Moscheles and Plaidy, cello with Grützmacher, and composition with Rietz. He returned to England in 1858, settling the following year in London, where he remained until his death, highly regarded as a teacher and composer. He composed or transcribed about 400 works for the piano. These were extremely popular in salons in England in the 19th century, particularly the early works. Many pieces were issued both as solo pieces and as piano duets.

His earliest compositions are piano accompaniments to three concertina pieces by Richard Blagrove. Apart from these, he composed only for solo piano until the last few years of his life, when he wrote a small handful of songs.

Amongst his best known works are: The Fairy Queen op. 42, Gaîeté de Coeur op. 24, I Puritani op. 85, Lily of the Valley op. 14, La Harpe Eolienne op. 11, Le Jet d’Eau op. 17, Chanson Russe op. 31 and the Tarantelle Brillante op. 8. He wrote many other morceaux de salon for piano solo, and made many arrangements from popular operas. In addition to the works published under his own name, he also published a number of piano works under the names Paul Beaumont and Victor Delacour.

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